Volleyball ends non-conference season with a win over Texas State

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Courtesy of UA Athletics

Alabama middle blocker Aliyah Wells (13) celebrates a point in the Crimson Tide’s victory over Texas State on Sept. 17 at Schollmaier Arena in Fort Worth, Texas.

Abby McCreary, Staff Reporter

Oh, to be a fly on the wall of the Alabama volleyball locker room.  

The Alabama volleyball team looked like an entirely different team on Saturday afternoon in their win against Texas State University compared to their two losses on Friday.  

The question must be asked — what did head coach Rashinda Reed say to turn her team around? 

“All the things we talked about came into fruition: staying present, staying brave, staying mindful,” Reed said. “The conversation with the attackers was to manage. We might not get the ball we want, but let’s focus on managing that.” 

The Crimson Tide (6-6) beat the Texas State Bobcats in straight sets (25-15, 25-23, 25-23) in their third and final match of the Horned Frog Invitational. Alabama recovered from yesterday’s season-low hitting percentage to get its season high against Texas State (7-4) with an impressive .396.  

“That was a lesson we learned,” Reed said. “We hadn’t been playing consistently throughout the entire match, and this is something that they executed [today].” 

Outside hitter Maddy McCormick — in her debut weekend with the Crimson Tide — led the team with 13 kills. Other outside hitters Kendyl Reaugh and Abby Marjama had two service aces each. Reaugh’s ace in the third set clinched the win for the Crimson Tide after a kill from McCormick gave the team a 24-23 lead.  

Texas State was on the board first, but a service error prompted a four-point Alabama scoring run that gave the team their first lead at 9-6. The Crimson Tide kept their lead throughout the first set, capitalizing off Texas State attack errors. The Bobcats had a negative hitting percentage in the opening set, and Alabama took advantage to win 25-15. 

Alabama scored first in the second set, but the lead bounced back and forth. Texas State middle blocker Jillian Slaughter led the drive for the Bobcats, tallying up kills and keeping her team in the running. She finished the match with eight kills, the team’s highest, and an incredible 1.000 hitting percentage. 

Despite her efforts, the Crimson Tide stayed ahead and finished the set with two kills from McCormick and Wells, narrowly winning the set 25-23.  

Wells said the key to winning those close matches is everyday practice. 

“Focusing on the things we do every day and implementing them in those tough, high-pressure moments is my focus,” Wells said. “As a team, we focus on making a lot of eye contact and words of affirmation during those high-pressure moments.” 

The third set also finished 25-23 and was as close as the second. Texas State even had some opportunities to pull ahead, but the Crimson Tide kept their errors down and their energy up. Setter Brooke Slusser and Reaugh both served aces in the final points of the set to win the match. 

“I love a W,” Reed said. “This is what we want to bring into conference play.” 

The Horned Frog Invitational was the last non-conference tournament for the Crimson Tide. Alabama travels to Gainesville, Florida, to begin conference play against the Gators on Wednesday at 6 p.m. CT. The match will air on SEC Network+.

Questions or comments? Email Austin Hannon (Sports Editor) at [email protected]